Position Papers and Press Releases

We Respond to Outbreaks of Anti-Semitism and Other Bias Crimes
December 11, 2003

On the snowy afternoon of December 5, NYCRC Executive Director Michael Meyers went to the Sons of Israel Synagogue, in Long Island City, Queens–the site where vandals had marred the synagogue with swastikas. Meyers spoke to the congregation, along with other civil rights and religious leaders. Michael Meyers’ remarks there about the ant-Semitic incident and other outbreaks of bigotry citywide follow.

“For Blacks, and for Jews, there is no symbol of hate more despicable than the swastika. It is the symbol of genocide. It is the shorthand for the extermination of a race of people, based on their ethnicity, skin color, or religion. It is a symbol that is heinous, foul, disgusting, and utterly chilling. Its use and its intent is to instill fear, and to incite loathing against a group of people in the general community.

“Make no mistake about it?the swastika is not directed against Jews alone, although, for sure, it is sending a message to Jews that they are not welcome and not regarded as desirable human beings. This is the irony and the pathology of the use of such putrid symbols of racism?by the least desirable elements in a civilized society; the haters, the thugs, the idiotic hate mongers amongst us?they who attempt to dictate to civilized society who is and who is not welcomed; who is and who is not desirable.

“We who stand here today are proud to say that we are not of their kind, the kind of pathetic, damaged human beings who would vandalize others? property and use the tools of hate to scapegoat, stereotype, denigrate, and assail a people on the basis of the basest of passions and prejudice.

“Those who slash tires, they who scratch their hate on the property of Jews, those who sow the seeds of bigotry know exactly what they do?and so, they must be caught. They must be exposed as cowards, and punished as criminals.

“We call upon New Yorkers of all faiths and of good will to condemn these outbreaks of bigotry. We are here to answer back. We urge our neighbors to be vigilant, to be unafraid, to cooperate with the police in apprehending all the night crawlers who wear the masks of bigotry, behind which they seek notoriety and escape from accountability for their treachery. It is time for us to stand together as a united society against fear, against bigotry, against hatred, against the setting of race against race. In doing so we will demonstrate our solidarity and purpose in defeating anti-Semitism, and all acts of bigotry; and demonstrate, as well, our individual and collective bravery today, every day, in every way.”

The New York Civil Rights Coalition was founded in 1986 to combat all forms of racial and ethnic bias and violence, and to promote interracial cooperation in civil rights efforts. At this time, especially, it is urgent that we receive support from our friends and allies in the struggle for racial harmony. Make your tax-deductible donations the size of your hearts; your checks should be payable to “The NY Civil Rights Coalition.” We will send you a receipt for tax deductible purposes.